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Archive for the ‘Mountaineering’ Category

Brigantes Presents – Urban and Maritime Ladder Solutions

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

Whether for use directly from the ground or mounted from vehicles and operated from maritime craft, ladders play an important role in tactical intervention and emergency response operations. But with so many options, which one could be the best use of military budgets?

The Atlas Tactical Ladder (ATL)

The ATL system features a sophisticated design optimised for an exceptionally high strength-to-weight ratio. This allows for durability, versatility, and minimum weight (4.5kg) without sacrificing strength or height. The innovative patented locking joint design enables not just the ability to rapidly deploy and stow the ATL, but also the ability to separate the assembly into smaller sections to optimise load carry and length. This means that the ATL systems weight can be distributed among several people and rapidly reassembled on site. It can also be configured for shorter lengths or deployed as several ladders, making it a single solution for many different missions. The ATL can be joined to reach heights of 5-6m.

The Helix HQH LadCarb Maritime

The HQH Ladcarb Maritime ladder is a carbon fibre framed ladder for maritime operations. It is constructed from the most advanced axial fibre laying technology making it extremely light and strong.  The ladder is to be used alongside a dual titanium hook, replaceable stand-off devices, wire ladder connectors and lifting cone to create the ultimate access solution for vessel boarding. 

The ladder features slightly positive buoyancy whilst maintaining very good mechanical properties. All materials have been tested for use in marine environment and mechanical endurance tests show the ladder performing at + 60 degrees Celsius to – 40 degrees Celsius.

Threaded inserts in the ladder stiles allow installation of standard stand-off extenders and titanium anchoring eyes at the bottom end of stiles allow installation of a wire rope extending ladder. The 4.6m ladder consists of four sections which can be quickly and easily dismantled down to single parts for straightforward transportation and storage. 

REBS Carbon Multi Ladder (CML)

The REBS CML is a rigid, modular and multi-functional ladder system with a dual rail design. The system uses modular 90cm sections that can be locked together to create a ladder, stretcher or bridge. The CML can be used in multiple configurations such as being hung from an attachment point via a hook or hooks, leant against a wall, bridging a gap between buildings/containers or as a rigid stretcher with handles and a harness that holds the casualty securely. It is manufactured from carbon fibre for a combination of excellent rigidity and a light weight. The design was derived from the same advanced carbon fibre moulding techniques that are used to manufacture modern bike frames and optimizes carbon fibre properties to create a very strong monocoque frame where each 90cm section is moulded in one piece to minimise joins and weak spots. The ladder rungs are wide enough to easily get two boots onto a rung and all of the surfaces have a tough, high friction coating to make use as secure as possible. 

The REBS Wire Ladder

The new design of the wire ladders has the highest strength to weight ratio of any wire ladder in the world. The wire ladders have been developed with input from professional users and have high-end features for superior performance in tenuous situations. All ladders are delivered ready to use. The rungs are diamond knurled and provide a durable high friction grip surface. Wire ladders are often used in combination with telescopic poles. The ladders are strong and rugged, but also compact in size, exceptionally light weight, and pack compactly and easily. The ladder has a market-leading minimum breaking load (MBL) of 1200 kg. The wire ladder is made with the highest quality components and materials. The Ø3 mm (1/8 in) wire rope and thimble are made from 316 stainless steel and the rungs are black anodized 6082 T6 alluminium.

REBS – Ultralight pole ladder (UPL)

The Ultralight Pole Ladder (UPL) is REBS’s latest single stile ladder which is lighter, easier to stack and carry, and stronger.

Each UPL section is 1.7m and is molded using the latest in carbon fibre technology.  The system can reach up to 11m when the top adapter, five sections of 1.7m, an optional single step and 1.5m Wire Ladder are all connected. The quick connectors and modular design make the system safe, fast and easy to assemble. By attaching the 1.5m Wire Ladder, an extra 1.5m of height can be gained whilst also keeping the lowest step closer to the ground. In marine environments, the Wire Ladder also provides increased operational safety as the boarding craft will not be able to knock the ladder off its hold when riding on the waves. Climbing comfort and efficiency is taken into consideration with rubber tipped standoffs which provide good space for hands and feet.

If you are looking for ladders for use in urban warfare assault or maritime boarding, contact us for more information.

Contact: [email protected]

For UK sales: [email protected]

OR visit us: brigantes.com/collections/ladders

Brigantes Presents – XSRE Lock and WallDo Accessory Carabiners

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Everyone’s favourite accessory carabiner now has a screwgate locking option for added security.

Made with the same attention to detail as all standard size DMM carabiners, the Helix Tactical XSRE carabiner is a beautiful, high performance accessory clip that has a functional industrial pedigree, yet crosses over easily into everyday life situations.

Widely adopted for non-PPE use on industrial worksites, the XSRE is just as useful on a tree care harness to organise gear as it is clipping keys onto a belt loop. The narrow, snag-free nose pierces rope and allows easy installation of remote systems.

The new screwgate locking version gives increased security when required – perfect when working at height. 

Alternatively, the WallDO is an offset oval wiregate that has versatility and style in abundance. It has been developed as a do it all workhorse – a carabiner that will perform in any role you can throw at it.

The large, shallow baskets provide a similar performance to an oval, while maintaining a bias towards the back of the carabiner to increase strength. Webbing sits comfortably at either end and they work as well with etriers and haul bags as they do on backpack straps. They can accommodate multiple connection points, allow efficient racking of wires and are suitable for use in all conditions from summer trad to winter epics.

With a large gate opening and narrow nose the WallDO can be clipped into anything from complicated anchors to tiny pegs. Available in matt grey.

For more information contact: [email protected]

For UK sales contact: [email protected]

Or visit: brigantes.com/collections/carabiners-quickdrawers-maillons to see the range.

Brigantes Presents – The Helix Renegade Tactical Harness

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

Brigantes are the exclusive military distributors for Helix Tactical in the UK, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain, as well as working with our partner, Mountain Horse with the supply of Helix Tactical products into the USA.

The Tactical Renegade is a comfortable and durable all-round tactical climbing harness. Generous amounts of padding provide support, and feature a mesh fabric for breathability. An internal load spreading plate gives effective lumber support, and keeps the Renegade comfortable on hanging belays and long climbing days.

Fully adjustable waist and leg loops help the Tactical Renegade fit over any layering system for use in all seasons. Slidelock buckles give a speedy and secure fit. A floating waistbelt keeps the padding and gear loops centralised, ensuring comfort and keeping gear within easy reach.

Seven gear loops make room for the biggest rack, and are positioned to ensure gear remains easily accessible. Two Vault slots let you carry dedicated ice protection.

For long mountain trad pitches to multi day mountain epics, the Tactical Renegade is a secure and comfortable all round harness.

The Tactical Renegade comes in a range of tactical colours including Black, Multicam Original, Multicam Arid and Multicam Alpine.

If you are looking for more information on Helix Tactical products contact:

for international sales: [email protected]

for UK sales: [email protected]

Or visit us: brigantes.com/collections/harnesses to set up an account and few the full range from Helix Tactical

Cold Weather Sock Systems and Foot Care by John Huston, Polar Explorer

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

This is the first article in a series written by accomplished arctic explorer John Huston and presented by Point6, out favorite sock maker.
H1: Cold Weather Sock Systems and Foot Care
H2: Expeditionary Foot Know How for the Long Haul
H3: Feet are the Expedition
It might seem odd to post an article on cold weather socks in June, but now is the time for units to place orders for equipment needed this winter.

John Huston off the coast of Ellesmere Island in high Arctic Canada, May 2013. © John Huston

In this post we’ll get into how I manage my feet in the cold. We’ll take a look at sock systems, moisture control via vapor barrier liner socks, and discuss foot care in the cold.

Twelve years ago I was having a beer with a Norwegian polar explorer colleague of mine, who came out of Norway’s Marinejegerkommandoen (MJK). We were discussing my upcoming unsupported expedition to the North Pole. “You know,” he said, “when it gets down to it: Preparation is the expedition.”

This kernel of advice quickly became one of my operational pillars. It goes deep into my expeditionary philosophy that reaches back to the golden age of polar exploration at the turn of the 20th century…and it opens up an endless well of related topics that we can dig into down the line.

Some of those historic polar explorers are heroes of mine. Explorers from that era, like Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton, were the astronauts of their time. They filled in the blank spaces on the globe and pushed technology and knowledge forward. And sometimes they really suffered. And sometimes they put on frozen boots in the morning. And sometimes they marched on bloody feet or lost toes to frostbite.

John Huston skijoring through Auyuittuq National Park, Baffin Island, Canada, April 2019. © Michael Martin

Early in my cold weather career, about 20 years ago, foot systems and foot care became an obsession. Happy feet = improved performance. Unhappy feet can land a person somewhere on the spectrum of reduced capacity from: effective but hating it to casualty.

So, ‘preparation is the expedition’ is prime and all encompassing, but ‘feet are the expedition’ isn’t far behind.  

For me, in the cold, feet need to be warm, comfortable, and healthy. When these three factors are in order a person doesn’t tend to think about their feet too much. When one of these factors is out of line the opposite is true.

The main ingredients to solving this equation are high quality merino wool socks, moisture management, and foot care routines.  

Merino wool socks provide all day comfort and excellent moisture management properties, and have the ability to perform for many days in a row. I’ve worn a lot of different socks for weeks at a time. Merino wool handles grime build up very well compared to synthetics which become odor bombs. My skin is happier in merino wool. When merino wool is wet, it maintains a good deal of it’s insulation value.

Fit and comfort are a big deal to me. The sock needs to feel good when I put it on and it needs to feel good after 12 hours of exertion and it needs be able to repeat that over and over. I love over the calf socks because they rarely slide down or bunch up. I almost frostbit my fingers trying to fix a bunched up sock in –40° and windy.

In most cases, depending on the temperature, duration of the activity, and humidity my foot layering system consists of the following from the inside out.


-Ultralight over the calf (OTC) merino wool sock. This is sometimes called a liner sock. Example: Point6 37.5 Ultra Light OTC.

-Vapor liner sock (VBL). This is a thin waterproof sock that keeps all foot perspiration on the innermost layer, which prevents the insulating socks and boot liners from getting wet. I’ve used everything from plastic bags to neoprene to silicon coated nylon taped-seam socks. Point6 is currently prototyping a new vapor liner sock. Plastic bags can work, but lack durability and comfort. Some people like neoprene, but my feet feel like they want to blister when I wear neoprene socks.

-Medium or thick merino wool sock (OTC, mid-calf, or 3/4 calf). The thickness of this sock depends on temperatures and how the sock system fits with my boots. Examples: Point6 37.5 Tactical Operator Heavy Mid-Calf

-Winter expedition nordic ski boot. This is another topic, but I’m a big fan of nordic ski boots with removable liners and extra space to allow for sock layering options and flexibility which promotes circulation.

Moisture management has a lot to do with warmth, comfort, and foot health. Feet sweat more than any other part of the body. A pair of feet contain approximately 250,000 sweat glands which can generate 8 oz of sweat per day. That number seems extreme and likely varies person according to person, but it’s pretty easy to see why people can end up with frozen boots in the morning. Most of that sweat has ended up in the fabric and insulation of their boots. In freezing temperatures, especially below zero, the moisture doesn’t get fully pushed (or breathed) into the air because it is too cold – the freezing can be in the boots themselves. This concept applies to clothing and sleeping bags as well.

This is where the vapor liner sock comes in – moisture control. During the day vaper liner socks add warmth because your insulation layers (outer merino wool sock and boot liners/boots) stay dry. Without a VBL those insulation layers will collect perspiration. Insulation works because it traps tiny pockets of air that retain heat. Insulation that contains water or ice is much less efficient and effective. For example, it is possible to warm up cold fingers in damp gloves, but it takes a lot more energy and a lot more work than in dry gloves. Same for feet. VBLs are often worth it to me just for the added warmth, not to mention the reduction in nightly drying chores.

On overnight trips (or even back when staying indoors) a sock system with vapor liner socks is much easier to dry than a ystem without the VBLs. Simply dry the liner socks and the inside of the VBL and you are good to go for the next day. Without the VBL it can take hours to dry outer wool socks, boot liners, and boots.

When I’m guiding I require that my clients wear VBL socks. That way I know their foot insulation layers are going to be dry during the day. And I know that they’ll easily be able to manage drying their socks during the evening. This is no small thing after a long ski day when people want to get into their warm sleeping bags as soon as they can.

Foot care routines are essential to maintaining happy feet. We dry our socks and feet every single night. I designate a thick pair of merino wool socks as sleeping socks that I only wear when I’m sedentary in camp. Every night I’ll put high quality natural hand cream on my feet. I like Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Handcream or Nourish Organic Argan Butter and avoid cream with petroleum products. Every third day we wash our feet with soap and warm water, using an extra mug and a small scrap of a camp towel. With these routines, a high quality sock system, and the right boots – all tested thoroughly prior to a major trip of course – my feet have been a non-issue for several thousand miles of Arctic and Antarctic ski expeditions. Part way through 60-day expeditions I’ve had teammates state that their feet have never felt more healthy, not even at home.

There is also a lot to be said for a good solid specific motion training regime that lets your feet and body know what is coming and allows time for it to adapt. We can discuss training in another post.

Sock systems and foot care routines are very personal. So make it a priority and take the time to experiment and get it right. You’ll enjoy happier days no matter what your endeavor.

Take care of your dogs and they will take care of you.

by John Huston, Polar Explorer

Brought to you by Point6, Merino Mastered

ActSafe TCXII Powered Rope Ascenders

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Skylotec acquired ActSafe in January 2020 and one of their most popular products is the TCXII Powered Rope Ascender.

They feature a variable rope grab system suitable for ropes of diameters from 6mm – 11mm. Ascent speeds vary from 0-60m per minute and working load limits from 150-250kg, depending on the model.

Actsafe Ascenders are built in Sweden.


US Army Issues Leader’s Book for Mountain Warfare And Cold Weather Operations

Monday, April 27th, 2020

The newly issued “Mountain Warfare and Cold Weather Operations Leader’s Book” was developed in conjunction with the Asymmetric Warfare Group.

Mountain operations present leaders and units with unique challenges that compound existing difficult combat realities. This handbook addresses the principal gap of informing leaders and staff of the considerations necessary to plan, operate, fight, and win in mountainous terrain at the company level and above. Leaders will find this handbook valuable in prioritizing tasks for training and pre-deployment planning for any military operations in the mountains. No previous mountain training or expertise is required to understand and practice most tactics, techniques, and procedures contained in this publication. Users who have experience operating in a mountainous environment can use this handbook to assist them in learning what veterans of mountain operations already know: vertical environments are among the most challenging in which to conduct and sustain combat operations.


Helix Operations – Arizona Vortex Tripod in Black

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

The Rock Exotica Arizona Vortex is an artificial high directional system and anchor point. It offers unlimited versatility and configuration options for rescues, lowers and hauling of equipment across all types of terrain, buildings and structures.

The Vortex can be rigged as a tripod, bi-pod and gin pole. This is possible because the Vortex’s two-piece head set allows for it to be rigged as a standard tripod or in advanced applications as an easel A-frame, A-frame, sideways A-frame and also as a gin pole.

It has fully adjustable, telescoping legs that allow it to be rigged in the most challenging mountain or urban terrain.

Importantly for equipment designed to be used in remote locations in poor conditions, it is intuitive and fast to set up. Transport options are maximised by the Vortex system breaking down into 4 separate bags.

Winches are easy to attach if they are needed to ease and expedite raises and lowers.

The Arizona Vortex with other Rock Exotica products such as the Omni Block pulleys, Aztek hauling system and Kootenay tyrolean pulley, meet virtually any requirement for a portable AHD system. All of these are available in subdued colours.

Helix Operations in conjunction with R3 SAR Gear (UK Rock Exotica Distributor) have specially requested a production run in black, making it better suited to tactical climbing and rescue operations.

Email: [email protected]

Black Diamond Equipment – Crack Gloves

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Black Diamond Equipment’s Crack Gloves were designed with 3D patterning. They are made from .6mm synthetic suede which balances breathability, protection, dexterity, and grip. Additionally, they incorporate an adhesive film.

If you’re wondering about the White color, BD says it reduces heat uptake during mega pitches in the desert sun, while also mimicking the classic tape glove construction for superior fit.

Available in sizes XS-XL.